10 Lessons in customer service [cross-post]

They don't work in an easy environment, and their (primary and secondary) customers are pretty demanding. They don't get paid particularly well either. But the business category that very often produces the highest aggregate score AND consistently has the lowest variance in their scores:

It is not quite retail, but the category is …Child Care.

Almost without exception will the childcare centre score very highly on all the dimensions of customer service.

WHY this category scores so well is subject to interpretation, and I would like to hear your thoughts. To kick-start it, here is my take on it:

  1. The government legislates a certain minimum standard that the environment must adhere to, so the score on these functional aspects of the business (the hygiene factors) are usually high. (I am not advocating legislation, but if we acted as if there was legislation…maybe?)

  2. The penalty of non-compliance is severe, unlike in the retail environment where you get to keep your business irrespective of the poor service.

  3. The employees are trained and consider themselves to be professionalism and concomitantly take pride in what they do.

  4. The employees actually chose it as a career and are passionate about what they do - they did not just 'fall into it'.

  5. They really do think (and act as if) they have precious cargo onboard - and they treat their users with kids gloves (pun intended).

  6. They have quite rigid systems to deal with every eventuality and they stick to the plan to make sure there are no nasty surprises.

  7. They are not just there to take the money. Whilst it (the child care centre) is a commercial enterprise, they also keep their eye on the bigger picture.

  8. They understand the ultimate consumers (parents) are not just paying for the safekeeping of their child. (Just like a furniture store does not just sell a chair for you to sit on, but are helping you create a home; the child care teachers actually take their higher-order job seriously.) Remember the discussion we had about what business you are in here on IR; and of course this one about your product?

  9. The staff receive non-monetary rewards which further encourages them to act in a certain, affirming way. (What wouldn't you do to get a smile on a toddler's face?)

  10. They give something of themselves every time they interact with one of the little ones.

Can you come up with more reasons why the service levels in these businesses are so good?
Are there lessons that you can apply to your business?

Looking forward to your comments...